How to say no this holiday season (without feeling guilty)

Most of us have a habit of overextending ourselves a little over Christmas; we go to parties that we don’t really want to, buy gifts that stretch the budget and play hostess when all we really want to do is snuggle up on the sofa with a good book and a glass of wine! In a bid to make sure that we don’t let anyone down we say yes to everything that comes our way and fill our diaries with so many commitments that you’d have to be super woman to get through them all.

But, what if you could create a calmer and more peaceful Christmas this year, one free from overwhelm and stress?

Well I think the key is to say no a little more often. Now, I know that it’s easier said than done and so I’ve put together a few tips on how to go about it - without feeling guilty or losing friends!...

Be honest with yourself 
Take a moment and think about the people that you love to spend time - and those you don’t! And, all of those events that have you counting down the minutes until you can politely leave. We’ve all been there!  While it might make you feel a little uncomfortable to excuse yourself from attending a few of those events this season, just think of what you can do with the extra time. Think through the events that you simply don’t enjoy and be sure to decline a few of them this year. 

Change your words
Saying yes is often our default answer, simply because we don’t know what else to say in the moment. Try having a few other phrases ready to help you say no with a little more grace - or at least buy you enough time to really think it over before are my favourites;

  • ‘Let me think it over and i’ll get back to you’   
  • ‘Thank you for asking/thinking of me but i can’t make it this time’
  • ‘It’s sounds like fun but i’m already over committed that day/week’
  • ‘I’d like to help but i have to check a few things first, can i get back to you?’

Also, if you’re saying no to someone that you’ll be seeing at another event during the season then remind them...‘I won’t be able to make that day but i’ll be seeing you later in the week won’t i?’

Don’t say yes and then let people down 
Have you ever said yes to something and then spent the next few days wondering how you’re going to get out of it? I know that I have! But, saying yes and then letting people down isn’t conducive to happy relationships. It’s even worse if you leave it late and then create a fictional reason why you can’t go - should it be the dog or the kids that aren’t well this time? You know what I mean. It’s so much better to be honest right from the start.     

Let go of feelings of guilt
Saying no is often followed by feelings of guilt and the temptation to change your decision, but hold on...we all deserve to create a Christmas that we love, even if that looks different or doesn’t suit someone else’s ideals. Yes, some people will interpret that as selfish but life is too short to spend every Christmas keeping everyone else happy.        

Remind yourself that you have choices
This season undoubtedly brings out the inner child in most of us, which I love. But it can also encourages us to forget that we are adults and that means we have choices - isn’t that the best part? So, this year remind yourself that you are no longer a child obliged to fit in with everyone else's plans and make space for whatever makes you happy.

It’s my hope that I’ve shared something here that inspires you to create a much more enjoyable - and less stressful - Christmas this year because we all deserve to celebrate the season in a way that makes us happy.    


Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.

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